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Safe Kids Canada: You can prevent Poisoning

From Safe Kids Canada

Very young children need you to keep them safe from being poisoned. They often put things in their mouths and taste things as a way of exploring the world.

Many products in your home can poison children or make them very sick.

Safety check
Keep all medicine locked up. Do not take medicine in front of your child because he or she may try to copy you.
Keep cleaning products safely locked up. Your child may be able to reach top shelves before you realize that he or she has learned to do this.
Watch your child closely when visiting other people’s homes. Their dangerous products may not be locked up.
Keep purses and briefcases out of your child’s reach. They may have dangerous products inside.

Did you know?
  • Babies and young children may swallow things that do not taste or smell good to adults.
  • Medicine is the most common cause of poisoning in children.
  • If your doctor has said to give medicine to your baby, read the label and measure the medicine every time you give it to your baby.
What you can do
Keep dangerous products out of sight and out of reach of your child.

Lock up your medicine and cleaning products. Other dangerous products that should be locked up include camphor, pesticides, and iron supplements. Just a few strong iron pills can kill a child.

Keep all cigarettes, butts, and ashtrays away from children. If your child swallows just 1 unsmoked cigarette or 2 cigarette butts, he or she could get sick.

Do not use cleaning products when children are close by. Many children are poisoned with a home cleaning product while a parent is using it (for example, a child might eat oven cleaner while her mother is cleaning the oven).

Keep products in their original containers. Make sure they are clearly labeled. If you move them to another container, your child could eat or drink some by accident.

Keep your young child away from the dishwasher. Automatic dishwasher detergent can cause burns to your child’s mouth or throat.

Learn to identify poisonous household plants.

About child safety caps
Some products have child-resistant safety caps. These have saved some children’s lives. But childresistant safety caps are not childproof. In fact, many children can open them. Keep all dangerous products safely out of sight and out of reach or locked up.

What can cause poisoning?
  • medicine and vitamins (including iron pills, nerve pills, codeine, heart pills, pain relief and cough/cold medicines, antibiotics, and birth control pills)
  • plants (including common indoor plants such as philodendron and dieffenbachia)
  • cosmetics (including cologne, perfume, aftershave lotion, and nail polish remover)
  • home cleaning products (including bleach, oven cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, furniture polish, and drain opener)
  • pesticides (insect spray, mouse poison)
  • paint and paint thinner
  • gasoline
  • antifreeze
  • alcohol
  • alcohol
For more information, call Safe Kids Canada at 1 800 SAFE TIPS or visit